Baptism: Necessary?

Infant Baptism is an issue of contention among Christians. Some believe baptism is “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” a necessary step to entering God’s Kingdom. It washes away “original sin” so one may be “born again” free of sin. Both Lutherans & Catholics believe in Infant Baptism.

To these people, I ask: Since the Bible clearly teaches that all people are sinful from conception on, what becomes of aborted children? Are they condemned to hell, since their “original sin” was never washed away?

Other Christians do not believe Infant Baptism is appropriate – precisely because children cannot confess their sin or even understand what’s happening. And still other Christians believe that Baptism itself is not needed for salvation.

To these people, I ask: Is faith in Christ always necessary for salvation? If so, what becomes of aborted children? Are they condemned to hell? Also, what is your opinion of John 3:5-6, Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

While these questions concern Christian theology, people of all religions should feel free to participate. What does your religion believe?

Comments

  1. Faith is a necessary element for baptism to do what it was/is meant to do through the blood of Jesus. This is clear from the very moment that it was mentioned by Jesus (Mark 16:16). Not one time in the New Testament was a child ever baptized for the remission of their sins. To enter into the New Covenant one must understand what they’re doing. A person is not born into the New Covenant like the Old Covenant, they’re born again into it (Hebrews 8:10-11). And being born again consists of having faith in Jesus – something to which a baby is not capable of doing.

    As far as aborted children and their salvation goes, the answer is the same for them as for other young children who die outside of the womb – their salvation is safe because they never sinned. Only sinners are separated from God in relationship, and the Bible doesn’t teach that people aren’t born guilty of sin contrary to popular belief (http://keltonburgpreacher.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/total-hereditary-depravity-part-2-the-bible-simple-does-not-teach-were-born-sinners/).

    And quickly on the water and the Spirit elements – the water is water baptism and the Spirit is following/listening to directions of God’s word/will (1 Peter 1:22-23); something that the Pharisees had rejected outright as the context of John 3 shows. When a person does that in connection to the gospel of Christ then the Spirit of God quickens the person who is dead to a right relationship with God through sin (Ephesians 2:1) after they have repented of their sins and have been buried in the water’s of baptism to rise out of them again to walk in newness of life (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-7; Colossians 2:11-13; Titus 3:5).

  2. Maybe slightly off topic but could clarify the differences between the gospels of Matt., Luke and Mark regarding the baptism of Jesus?

    Firstly, why would/does Jesus seek out John for baptism at all? Is there any writing that explains why god would need to baptize himself? The passages that cite the story don’t give any background as to why this is important to Jesus. And no I am not asking to be anything but serious.

    Secondly, is it really just catholics and lutherans? I have seen numerous roadside revivalist like tent congregations baptizing children throughout the South.

  3. R. Nash,

    Check out Matthew 3:15. Righteousness is being and doing things as God says they ought to be and be done. Since the baptism of John was from Heaven (Matthew 21:25), and Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness in the flesh it was necessary for Jesus to submit to the command.

  4. I remember this being discussed in catechism classes in preperation for confrimation. In talking about baptism and abortion, there was discussion about the concept of “baptism of blood,” whereby an innocent who is killed before baptism is viewed as having been baptised in their own blood. Not only aborted children, but people who have been martyred before they’ve been able to have the sacrament of baptism.

  5. Eugene,

    I read the link and found it wholly unconvincing. It offers no clear refutation to the belief all are born guilty of orginal sin. The author merely responds to a few passages often used to support the belief, but ignored the following. And “I wonder why???”

    Romans 5:19, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”

    Clearly an indication that sin is passed down.

  6. Kunoichi,

    Do you believe baptism is necessary for salvation?

    • “Do you believe baptism is necessary for salvation?”

      I had to think about how to phrase my answer on that, and the best I can come up with is that, yes, I think it is necessary, but not essential. In other words, I do belive that we need to be baptised, but that people can still experience salvation even if they have not been formally baptised with water. The reality is that some people die before they can be physically baptised, some in a complete state of innocence (the unborn) or by martyrhood. Because of this, I do agree with the concepts of baptism of blood (this is a very early concept, due to the many pagans who were executed for converting to Christianity before they could be baptised, and I do believe it applies to aborted, miscarried and stillborn babies as well) and baptism of desire.

    • THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH BY STEVE FINNELL
      Why was the Ethiopian eunuch so concerned about being baptized in water?
      1. Did the eunuch want to be baptized so he could join the the 1st Church of Philip?
      2. Did the eunuch want to be baptized as a testimony of his faith?
      3. Did he want be baptized because Jesus commanded it and he wanted to be obedient?
      4. Was he in a hurry to be baptized because he realized that water baptism had nothing to do with the forgiveness of his sins?
      5. Did the eunuch want to be baptized because his sins were already forgiven?
      6. Did he want be baptized to demonstrate that he was saved before he was baptized?

      The answer is NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO.

      The Ethiopian was in a hurry to be baptized because:
      1. He wanted his sins forgiven. (Acts 2:38)
      2. He wanted his transgressions forgiven. (Colossians 2:13)
      3. He wanted to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21)
      4. He wanted to be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3)
      5. He wanted to walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
      6. He wanted his body of sin done away with. (Romans 6.6)
      7. He wanted wanted to live with Christ. ( Romans 6:8)
      8. He wanted to be saved. (Mark 16:16)
      9. He wanted wanted to be clothed with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
      10. He wanted to have his sins washed away. (Acts 22:16)
      11. He wanted to be saved. (Titus 3:5)
      12. He wanted to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
      13. He wanted the Lord to add him to His church. (Acts 2 :41,47)
      14. He wanted to be sanctified. (Ephesians 5:26)
      15. He wanted to be blameless and holy. (Ephesians 5:27)
      16. He wanted to be free of spots and wrinkles.(Ephesians 5:27)
      17. He wanted to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

      THE CONVERSION OF THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH (Acts 8:26-38)

      Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch.

      The first question the eunuch ask was “What prevents me from being baptized?”

      Philip said Acts 2:37 [… “If you believe with all your heart you may.” And he answered and said , I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]

      When Philip preach Jesus to the eunuch he must have told him what Jesus said in Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

      THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH WAS SAVED ON THE ROAD FROM JERUSALEM TO GAZA; BUT ONLY AFTER HE BELIEVED AND WAS BAPTIZED!

      NOTE: In the New Testament Scriptures there is not one single account of anyone denying water baptism as being essential for the forgiveness of sins. Not one mention of anyone saying I was saved before I was baptized. Not one person stated they were saved before baptism, but were baptized so they could join the local church. Not one individual said I was baptized as a testimony of my faith, but it had nothing to do with my salvation. WHY DO YOU NOT READ ABOUT THESE THINGS HAPPENING IN THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH? WHY? BECAUSE THESE ARE ALL MAN-MADE TRADITIONS THAT ORIGINATED MUCH LATER. (SEE MY APRIL 17 POST—“THE PRICE OF TRADITION’)

      (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

  7. Terrance,

    If you believe that, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” teaches that all are automatically born sinners because of what Adam did then you must believe that it also teaches that all are automatically saved because of what Jesus did. If this verse teaches that “sin is passed” down then is also teaches that salvation is passed down in the same manner.

    And I did discuss that verse in http://keltonburgpreacher.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/total-hereditary-depravity-part-1-what-kind-of-seed-did-the-fruit-lead-to/

    This post I referenced the first time dealt directly with the question that you asked in your article. That’s why. Not because I ignored it or avoided it as you seem to think.

    To give you a brief reading so you don’t have to read the whole thing if you don’t want to, here’s a quick snippet:

    Read Romans 5:12-19 and you’ll find Paul’s synopsis on the situation recorded in Genesis 3. In Romans 5:12-19 you’ll find that there are no less than two monumental starting places in mankind’s spiritual history. One is the condemnation of sin and the other is justification from sin. Paul is not saying everyone is automatically universally condemned in Adam any more than everyone is automatically universally justified in Jesus.

    What Paul is saying in verse 12 is that everyone deserves condemnation because everyone has sinned! Not that everyone was born a sinner!!! Just as Adam introduced a pathway for all that leads to death, Jesus introduced a pathway for all that leads to life. The dichotomy is that we deserve spiritual condemnation because we all earned it like Adam (Romans 6:23), but we do not deserve spiritual justification because we can’t earn it from God (Romans 6:23).

    The article has more to say, but these paragraphs deal with the issue that you rose in your last comment.

    Your view of Romans 5:19 makes it say that if one action led to universal condemnation by default and without personal responsibility, then the other action led to universal salvation by default and without personal responsibility. Like I said in the original post that I referred to, the Bible itself never says that a person is born a sinner – people and their interpretations make it say that.

  8. Eugene,

    Like I said before, you must then believe that human beings were created sinful. If Adam’s sin is not responsible for our proclivity for sin, then God set us up.

    It’s clear from that verse and many others that Adam brought sin to us all. It’s also clear that Jesus brings salvation to us all – if we accept it. And that Jesus gives us a choice doesn’t contradict the passage at all.

    Fact is, the literal meaning of a passage ought to be presumed unless there’s reason to believe otherwise. You’ve given no reason to believe Paul meant something other than that which is clearly written.

  9. You’ve given no reason to believe Paul meant something other than that which is clearly written.

    I can’t understand how you can seriously say that. I just gave multiple reasons in the last reply. You can say that I gave reasons that you don’t like, but please don’t say that I didn’t give any because then you’re just being dishonest with yourself.

    Romans 5:12 says all are sinners because we have sinned, not because we are born sinners. Read what that says again. Read what I said again. Adam is responsible. Adam introduced a pathway for all that leads to death, Jesus introduced a pathway for all that leads to life. But neither are arbitrary. There is personal responsibility involved in both sin and salvation.

    The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20) It’s not hard to understand.

    Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).” The Bible teaches that we go astray, we’re not born astray (Isaiah 53:6).

    Take Romans 5:19 in the context and the point is clear. Don’t promote one verse to the exclusion of the others.

    And by the way, one thing that you’re not taking into account is that Jesus was born in the flesh just like us. Think about that.

  10. Eugene,

    Your “reasons” are merely that which you’ve presupposed. You’re cogitating answers to a problem that doesn’t exist – which you’ll see below.

    Adam is responsible. Adam introduced a pathway for all that leads to death, Jesus introduced a pathway for all that leads to life. But neither are arbitrary. There is personal responsibility involved in both sin and salvation.

    A distinction without a difference, it seems to me. The doctrine of Original Sin merely states that Adam’s sin is a “privation of grace” for all of humanity, which, if you don’t mind my saying so, is precisely what you’re arguing. Nobody is saying that Original Sin is the same thing as Habitual Sin.

  11. Eugene,

    Is it possible for a regular ‘ol human being like you or me to live a life completely free of sin? Is it possible?

  12. If we couldn’t we wouldn’t be held responsible for not doing so.

    I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” (Romans 7:9)

    When was Paul alive, Terrance? Because according to your interpretation he couldn’t have been because he was born spiritually dead. He could have never been alive before being born again, but yet Paul does indeed speak of a time when he was alive spiritually speaking. Now when was that, Terrance?

    Your “reasons” are merely that which you’ve presupposed.

    I could the same, and much more concerning your reasons that you’ve given. I have given almost 10 to 1 references concerning the scriptures. You keep bringing up doctrine invented by people, and not doctrines taught by the scriptures.

    The doctrine of Original Sin merely states that Adam’s sin is a “privation of grace” for all of humanity, which, if you don’t mind my saying so, is precisely what you’re arguing.”

    You’re sorely misunderstanding what I’m arguing if that’s why you think I’m saying. The original sin is indeed a biblical truth, but the doctrinal of original sin is not, and you have not provided one scripture that says otherwise.

    Romans 5:19 does not teach automatic spiritual death due to be being born as a descendant of Adam. Remember Terrance, Jesus was a decedent of Adam himself. Romans 5:19 must be viewed in context with Romans 5:12 which says that people are sinners because we sin not because we’re born sinners.

  13. Eugene,

    One mustn’t need faith in the Savior if one has done nothing requiring salvation. If one can live a life free of sin, then Christ died for nothing.

    Your misunderstanding aside, are you suggesting that Adam’s sin is not a “privation of grace”? Because that’s all the doctrine states. You said the same thing when you said “Adam is responsible” for our sinful nature. You’re contradicting yourself. If it’s possible to live a life free of sin, then what is Adam responsible for?

  14. And that bit from Paul you posted merely reflects the common sense notion that a person cannot sin unless they know the difference between right and wrong. Children are not habitual sinners – but they will be habitual sinners. And why? Adam’s sin. And what did you say? “Adam is responsible.”

  15. I never said, “Adam is responsible” for our sinful nature.” I said he was responsible for introducing the path that leads to spiritual death as Romans 5:12-19 teaches. Big difference between one creating the path and others being forced to walk down it.

    The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

    We’re responsible for our own decisions. We earn the wages of sin because we sin (Romans 5:12, 6:23), not because we’re born guilty of sin.

    I said enough, and I’ve used enough scripture to show that what I’m saying takes into account the whole of scripture and not just one verse above all others.

  16. Eugene,

    It’s not a big difference. It’s merely a distinction without a difference. Regardless, why are we sinful if not for Adam’s sin? Why? Did God create us sinful?

    Nobody said we were born guilty of habitual sin – and if you think the doctrine of Original Sin states that, then you don’t understand it.

  17. Terrance,

    Paul plainly said that there was a time in his life before he was spiritually dead. This is something that original sin does not allow, because according to it we’re born sinners. And sinners are dead to God, but again, Paul said at one time he was alive without the guilt of sin.

    We don’t sin because we’re sinful. We’re sinful because we sin. Do you not realize that God did not create Adam or Eve as sinful yet they were still able to choose sin over righteousness. They had a choice to make. The same with us. We’re not born sinful, but we do have a choice to make when we get to a certain point in our life – sin or righteousness. Adam introduced the path that leads away from God and Jesus introduced the path that leads back home.

    Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

    Being born as an descendant of Adam does not automatically make one a sinner. Again, Jesus was a fleshly descendant of David, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham and Adam.

    And by the way, if “nobody” said we’re born guilty of sin, then why does said “nobody” baptize babies? Baptism is for the remission of sins that have been committed (Acts 2:38, 22:16), yet if one has not committed sin then how could they be baptized for them?

    I’ve enjoyed the conversation, and I know that what I’m saying is quite different than what you believe, but please study the scriptures and take what they say as a whole. If you have any other questions just email me. The address is in my gravatar. I’ll let you take the rest of the thread wherever you wish. Thanks.

  18. Eugene,

    Paul plainly said that there was a time in his life before he was spiritually dead. This is something that original sin does not allow, because according to it we’re born sinners. And sinners are dead to God, but again, Paul said at one time he was alive without the guilt of sin.

    You simply do not understand the doctrine. Speaking ingenuously, you’re like most evangelicals in that your aversion to Catholicism is the result of conditioning rather than study.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church

    By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humans.

    Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

    As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

    Isn’t that your argument – almost exactly? You reject a doctrine you completely agree with because you don’t like the semantics. “We are born sinners” is merely a shortened version of “human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering, and the domination of death, and inclinded to sin.”

    You won’t find many Christians willing to believe that it’s possible for humans to live a life free of sin, for if that be the case, then Christ died for nothing. Doesn’t that sound terribly familiar?

    Galatians 2:21, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

    The Sacrament of Baptism brings us into a new life by “washing away” the guilt of original sin. It brings us into the New Covenant.

  19. Kunoichi,

    To me, sola fide proves that baptism is not necessary because we are “justified by faith alone.” But then again, this seems closely related to baptism of desire.

  20. Having been raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, I tend to favor infant baptisms if a baptism is to be done at all. While I now lean more toward Evangelical teachings, I view infant baptisms as part of the overall celebration of the child’s birth. Doing so acknowledges God’s part in the child’s existence.

    But if one believes baptism to be essential, I would think an adult baptism would be in order regardless of whether or not an infant ceremony had been performed.

    Overall, I regard baptism as purely symbolic and not necessary for salvation in any way. Often, when I am responding to posts or points/questions rendered in subsequent comments, I will first do a little research looking for something that helps me articulate what I believe. To that end, I came across this, which details nicely why I believe baptism is no more than a symbolic ritual.

    To be clear, i like the ritual, whether it be infant baptism or adult, a sprinkling of water or total immersion, and feel it is a good thing in which all should partake.

  21. By the way, the link I offered is somewhat lengthy, but worth the effort. Have a sandwich and a cup of coffee whilst enjoying.

  22. R. Nash,

    Maybe slightly off topic but could clarify the differences between the gospels of Matt., Luke and Mark regarding the baptism of Jesus?

    There are no major differences. Each style is unique to the writer, but the narrative describes the same event. One difference is that Mark doesn’t detail the baptism’s theological importance as well as Matthew.

    Firstly, why would/does Jesus seek out John for baptism at all? Is there any writing that explains why god would need to baptize himself? The passages that cite the story don’t give any background as to why this is important to Jesus. And no I am not asking to be anything but serious.

    So He could enter the Melchizedek priesthood and offer Himself as a sacrifice.

    Secondly, is it really just catholics and lutherans? I have seen numerous roadside revivalist like tent congregations baptizing children throughout the South.

    Not at all, no. But Catholics and Lutherans are two of the biggest denominations associated with Infant Baptism. Plus, I’m a current Lutheran, Wisconsin Synod, and former Catholic, so because I’m familiar with the reasons put forth by each I used them in my example.

  23. Terrance,

    You quote Catechism and not scripture as you ignore what I say; there’s problem one.

    You also ignore the fact that many people in Protestantism believe that babies are born sinners too; it’s called Calvinism and the many different versions that follow.

    Your quotation of the Catechism does what you accused me of earlier; it makes a distinction without a difference. A person is baptized for the sins that they have committed, not for sins that others have committed. Now, if you’d like to show me where in the scriptures that this isn’t true, then go ahead and try. Catechism’s are needed because they say what the scriptures don’t and hence they have no bearing at all. They are doctrine’s of people and not commandments of God.

    Your reference to Galatians 2:21 is talking about righteousness that comes through keeping the Law of Moses. Abraham preceded the Law of Moses and was justified by faith; the same way people are justified today through Jesus. Different topic than what you’re trying to defend.

    For someone to be brought into the New Covenant they must understand what they’re doing. Hebrews 8:10-11 specifically says this in relationship to the New Covenant. You won’t find one baby in the scriptures being baptized and you’re ignoring that fact because “you’re like most denominations in that your aversion to the truth of the scriptures is the result of conditioning rather than study.

    Jesus himself said that for a person to be baptized they must personally believe (Mark 16:16). There is no such thing as proxy-baptism in the Bible. To be saved one must believe that Jesus was risen from the dead, acknowledge and repent of their own sin, and be baptized for the remission of their sins. (Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:26-27). A person must have faith to be baptized – and a baby is not capable of having faith.

    First you say, “Nobody said we were born guilty of sin” but then you say, “The Sacrament of Baptism brings us into a new life by “washing away” the guilt of original sin.” Sounds like you’re saying two things at once to me.

    And finally, you told Kunoichi, that “To me, sola fide proves that baptism is not necessary because we are “justified by faith alone.”” Can you show where the scriptures teach that a person is justified by faith alone? I’ll save you some time and tell you that James 2:17 is the only place in the scriptures where the words “faith” and “alone” appear in the same sentence. Check out what it says. I believe that you’re misunderstanding what it means to be saved by faith. Saved by faith? Yes. Saved by faith alone? Never. Saved by baptism? Yes. Saved by baptism alone? Never. That’s what a child’s “sacramental baptism” is. A baptism without faith, a baptism without the authority of God’s word, and a baptism that’s not needed.

    And by the way, I might be a little more familiar with infant baptism than what you think I am. I was baptized as a baby.

  24. Eugene

    Could Paul have been speaking of a time before he realized he was spiritually dead?

    But I think ots more likely he was talking about being under the OT sacrifice system where after sinning and going through the atoning sacrifice rituals, you could be said to be justified before God. That system having been replaced at the crucifixion, Paul recognized that he was spiritually dead.

  25. John,

    What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:7-12)

    I just wanted to put the context up so it would save time. In the grander scheme Paul is talking about how the Law of Moses had been replaced by the Law of Faith (Romans 3:27-28). Now in chapter 7 he doesn’t want his readers to get the wrong idea by thinking that the Law was evil because of its replacement. So he points out that the Law’s purpose was to give knowledge about sin. Once a person learns about right and wrong then they are responsible for their choices. That’s why Paul said at one time (when he was a child) that he was alive (spiritually speaking obviously), but when he learned about sin through the commandment and he chose to do something other than what he knew was right then sin “killed” his relationship with God.

    This is what happened in Eden. Adam and Eve knew what the right thing to do was. But they chose sin over righteousness. That is the path that Adam introduced to all of humanity through his actions (Romans 5:12). A person has not “earned” death through sin until they have committed it (Romans 6:23). They aren’t born that way or Paul would’ve never been “alive” spiritually speaking in his life.

    So as you can see by the context of Romans 7, Paul was speaking of a time in his own life before Christ was crucified. At the same time he also addresses the solution to his problem with sin – Jesus and him perfectly fulfilling the righteousness required by the Law (Romans 5:12, 8:1-8). The Law offered no permanent solution to sin; it only offered guilt and conviction.

  26. Look, the only reason I’m saying what I’m saying (other than because I believe it) is because it introduced a thought that wasn’t being considered in Terrance’s question.

    If you believe that children are born sinful and that they must be baptized to be in a right relationship with God then when it comes to aborted children there is only one conclusion.

    Sure, people come up with reasons that excuse that conclusion, but the excuses are just that: excuses. They are not based on scripture, but then again neither is baptizing babies. Baptizing babies solves a “problem” that doesn’t exist. That’s why I said what I said.

    I guess the question didn’t fit what I believe, so maybe I should’ve just ignored it.

  27. Eugene,

    You quote Catechism and not scripture as you ignore what I say; there’s problem one.

    My purpose in quoting Catechism is to educate you, since you clearly do not understand the doctrine of “original sin.”

    You also ignore the fact that many people in Protestantism believe that babies are born sinners too; it’s called Calvinism and the many different versions that follow.

    I don’t care what Calvinists believe. I was talking about Catholics and Lutherans, which I thought was clear in the first paragraph of the original post.

    Your quotation of the Catechism does what you accused me of earlier; it makes a distinction without a difference. A person is baptized for the sins that they have committed, not for sins that others have committed. Now, if you’d like to show me where in the scriptures that this isn’t true, then go ahead and try. Catechism’s are needed because they say what the scriptures don’t and hence they have no bearing at all. They are doctrine’s of people and not commandments of God.

    So then your argument isn’t with the doctrine of “original sin,” but the purpose of baptism in the Catholic and Lutheran Churches. You should specify.

    Also, neither Catholics or Lutherans believe baptism is some type of voodoo that instantly saves a person from eternal damnation. It merely incorporates people into the Body of Christ and within the Church – but it must be accompanied by faith for it to be useful for their salvation. And as mentioned, baptismus flaminis and baptismum sanguinis are acceptable forms of the sacrament.

    Your reference to Galatians 2:21 is talking about righteousness that comes through keeping the Law of Moses. Abraham preceded the Law of Moses and was justified by faith; the same way people are justified today through Jesus. Different topic than what you’re trying to defend.

    Paul is saying that if one could be righteous by following the law (live sinless), then Jesus died for nothing. This passage clearly refutes the ABSURD belief that humans are capable of living a life free of sin.

    You evangelicals crack me up. You guys twist, contort, or otherwise pull stuff out of thin air just to support your crazy beliefs.

    For someone to be brought into the New Covenant they must understand what they’re doing.

    I explained that baptism must be accompanied by faith if it be useful for one’s salvation. Perhaps you should start reading Catechism once in awhile.

  28. Terrance,

    You need to chill out and start paying attention to what you’re saying.

    First you say, “Nobody said we were born guilty of sin” but then you say, “The Sacrament of Baptism brings us into a new life by “washing away” the guilt of original sin.” Again, sounds like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Then you also say, “I explained that baptism must be accompanied by faith if it be useful for one’s salvation.

    Then you have the nerve to say, “You evangelicals crack me up. You guys twist, contort, or otherwise pull stuff out of thin air just to support your crazy beliefs.

    Yeah, because, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” (Hebrews 8:10-11)

    How can you not see that what you fail to explain is how a baby can have faith. How can a baby know God by faith? You know, the same faith that’s necessary to believe in the gospel; the same faith that’s necessary to believe that Jesus rose again from the dead.

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10

    A baby cannot confess Jesus, they cannot have faith in Jesus through the gospel, they cannot repent of their sins, and they have committed no sin that needs to be remitted. You can’t provide one scripture that says otherwise yet you sit in your smug highchair castigating others for the very thing that you fail to do – and that’s avoiding your aversion to the truth by not studying (2 Timothy 2:15).

    Ignore your own contradictions if you wish, but ignoring things doesn’t make them go away.

    And by the way, for some reason it seems like you get a bigger kick out of calling names than you do talking about what the scriptures themselves actually teach. Poor taste.

  29. First you say, “Nobody said we were born guilty of sin” but then you say, “The Sacrament of Baptism brings us into a new life by “washing away” the guilt of original sin.” Again, sounds like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    I drew a distinction between original sin and habitual sin earlier in the thread. Original sin is the inclination to sin (concupiscence). Habitual sin includes things like thievery, lust, greed, and all the other things we KNOW are wrong but do anyway. I meant nobody is saying we are born guilty of HABITUAL SIN. I thought this was clear.

    How can you not see that what you fail to explain is how a baby can have faith. How can a baby know God by faith? You know, the same faith that’s necessary to believe in the gospel; the same faith that’s necessary to believe that Jesus rose again from the dead.

    Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

    Nobody is born an atheist; they are made that way by society. Early baptism helps prevent this by bringing a person into the New Covenant early where their faith can grow. Why is this objectionable to you?

    There are no contradictions in anything I’ve said. If I’m guilty of anything it’s not writing this all out in crayon for you. You’re the one claiming it’s possible to live a life free of sin – a complete contradiction of Christianity itself! You’re no better than a Mormon.

  30. “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” teaches infant baptism??? Yup, there’s the command to baptize children for sins that they haven’t committed. How could I have missed that?

    And who needs the crayons? You really need to work on your name calling attitude man. And you really need to do some refection on your own words – “You guys twist, contort, or otherwise pull stuff out of thin air just to support your crazy beliefs.

    You may feel comfortable in your head knowledge but your words reveal a completely different condition when it comes to your heart.

  31. Eugene,

    First, I didn’t say it was a command to baptize children. But I think it’s a pretty clear indication that we shouldn’t prevent children from entering the New Covenant.

    Also, are you denying that entire households were baptized in Acts?

    I didn’t call you any names – for the second time. Regardless, I love how you completely ignored my explanation of Catholic and Lutheran baptism. Why is that? Because it doesn’t jive with your preconceived notions.

    If you spent half as much time familiarizing yourself with other people’s beliefs as you do ridiculing them, you might learn something.

    By the way, I’ll take your silence on the matter of original sin as a concession. You owe well-over a billion people an apology.

  32. What silence? Dude, you’re impossible to have a logical and scriptural conversation with. And now you can’t even see the hypocritical name calling, insinuations and broad brush things that you said? Open your eyes man, cause your heart is deceiving you.

  33. Am I mistaken, I didn’t read your opinion in the post, right? Just a bunch of questions. Of course I don’t believe in any after-life salvation, though I use to.

  34. Eugene,

    You completely skipped over my explanation of “original sin.”

    And what name calling? I’ve only said that your ability to reason is severely hindered by preconceived notions programmed into you. Other than that, what names? It’s not like I’m calling you a “stupid head” or anything. Geez.

    Sabio,

    No, you’re not. The questions are stimulative. I want people to defend their own beliefs rather than criticize mine.

  35. Your in-house questions were good.
    Either people have to recognize the unloving attitudes of some Bible writers (damning folks for the dumbest reasons) or either ignore twist theological knots around certain passages.
    But I doubt that was your intent.

  36. Sabio,

    No, that wasn’t my intent. But somewhat close. My problem is with those Christians who, while claiming to speak for a loving God, put forth notions that have nothing in common with any loving God I’m familiar with. For example, the idea that a loving God would send unbaptized babies to hell is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard since Miley Cyrus last performed.

  37. @ Terrance,
    Couldn’t a conservative response be: “Look, God is who he is. How is the pot suppose to understand the potter. Who are we to question our maker. There must be some reason. We can’t use our intuition of what “Love” is suppose to be. Since the Bible is always true, we just have to hold the apparent contradictions as a mystery and realized unbaptized babies burn in hell.”

  38. Sabio,

    Sure it could, if they’re trying to justify heresy. It’s simply not Biblical.

  39. “Biblical” — my favorite word. Used by every sect of Christianity meaning “how we interpret our anthology”.
    So now you tell us, Baptism is not necessary for salvation.
    Wheeew, one less silly thing off the platter of condemnation.

  40. Sabio,

    The intended meaning of a passage is not an unsolveable enigma, and to believe so is self-defeating. If someone wants to know the meaning of a given passage then they need to research and be sure to utilize more than a single source. Eventually they’ll come away with the most logical answer. And really, that’s all you can ask for when interpreting ancients texts translated by different people at different points in history.

    • @ TerranceH,
      With ancient text, and limited info, it is tough to be sure of meaning. I watch Buddhists argue over the meaning of their texts and Hindus argue over theirs. All reaching different conclusions with no consensus. This is also true among nonconfessionals working on those texts. Sure, going at the text hoping otherwise is the best approach but the facts on the ground are often otherwise for those texts. [by the way, I once translated Japanese].

      So there is no “most logical answer” for many sets of passages except to those in agreement of the objective of the translation — sectarians. And for those who believe their anthology of different writers (be it the Bible, Sutras, Parvas or Suras) are unified and speak with once essential voice and one consistent theology (a phenomenal error), the translation errors risk is compounded hugely.

      All to say, I disagree.

  41. “people of all religions should feel free to participate. What does your religion believe?”

    Thanks for inviting followers of other religions for participation in the discussion; it means you are an open mind.
    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim.

    In Islam/Quran there is no baptism; please define as to what is “baptism”.?
    Islam/Quran/Muhammad do not hold that man is sinful by birth; there is no “original sin”; every human is born innocent.

    Thanks and regards

  42. In the tradition with which I am most familiar, infant baptism is more of a contract between the Church body and the parents in which both promise to raise the child in such a way as to nurture the child’s faith as they grow to the point where the child can profess his/her own faith. IN this context I have no problem with infant baptism, although I’d prefer some other name for the sacrament.

    Your question, however, raises another question for me. For what “Is baptism necessary”?

    For salvation? I would argue that it is not. The best example is the thief on the cross next to Jesus. I would also suggest that there is no doubt that many in the OT were saved, yet not baptized.

    Is baptism a valuable and powerful symbol, yes. Do some faith traditions get it wrong, sure. Is it “necessary”, I’d argue not.

    As to aborted children, how is their eternal fate different from a miscarriage or any other accidental death in the womb?

    While there are plenty of sources that you can look at, I feel pretty confident that the Biblical evidence points toward some sort of “age of accountability”, prior to which those who die are judged differently.

    Ultimately I believe that God is 100% just as well as 100% merciful, and that is enough for me to trust that whatever happens is appropriate.

  43. Sabio,

    If a certain interpretation is clearly explained and withstands close scrutiny, then it’s at least the most logical answer available. In such cases where two answers are equal, they are often closely related and subtle nuances cease to matter. But if the term “logical” is too generous, let’s switch it to “best answer” based on the available evidence.

    The problem isn’t the text itself; it’s the people and their methods of interpretation. Too many, it seems, begin their endeavor with the intent of supporting their own views.

    • @ Terrance,
      I agree with your last statement — and so do most theologians who disagree with your theology. Odd how very bright, sincere people can disagree on these sorts of old texts: again, be they Hindu, Christian or Buddhist.

  44. paarsurrey,

    Baptism is loosely defined as an act of initiation or ceremony of initiation. A stricter definition, and the one intended here, is “a ceremonial application of water as initiation into the Christian Church.”

    Is there any similar act within Islam?

    Thanks for your participation.

  45. @ Terrance,
    Not sure if you know paarsurrey’s religion. It is a sect of Islam considered heretical by both Sunnis and Shiites (not that I care). It began with a self-proclaimed Messiah in India. So it helps to not treat it like any old Islam — the flavors of Islam differ as wildly as Christian sects do. Read here Ahmadiyya Islam and their founder’s interesting history here. Of course you can go to his site for an insider view — but it is difficult for me to dialogue with him but with the background reading it helps. Threads are hard places to learn about particular sects nuances that separate them from their fellow believers — yet those difference are behind all the conversations.

  46. I am joining this hot debate very late. I only blog on weekdays. I think your belief on infant baptism will be driven by your stance on Soteriology. Or how you balance the sovereignty of God with the free will of man. Which will explain why a lot of the reformed perform it but I’m not quite sure why the Catholics do. I am an Arminist so I don’t understand how an infant can exercise free will and confess and believe (Rom 10:9) that Jesus was raised from the dead. That would make the age of baptism subjective to the speed of intellectual development of a person. So I am open to very small children. To be clear the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/index.html) defines an Infant to be (0-1 years old) and toddler to be (1-3 years old), Preschoolers are (3-5 years old) and middle childhood is (6-11) , and so on. I’m pretty sure someone in the their middle childhood could be baptized and an exceptionally gifted preschooler can. But Infants and toddlers are a stretch to say the least.

    If possible we must be baptized (John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus what and how to be born again) although it’s not required. This is another case of balancing faith and works. Or whole lives is about doing as much with the time that we are given it (Matthew 25, parable of the talents).

  47. Sabio,

    Such is life.

    Personally, I don’t know I’m right about anything. I was an atheist throughout the majority of my twenties (I’m 28) so I came to the Bible quite late. I provide what I think are good reasons for my beliefs, but I can’t prove them. I offer arguments that may or may not withstand scrutiny.

    About what you said before. I knew you were a Japanese translator, a Buddhist (of sorts, it seems), and a Physician Assistant. The last one intrigues me because I’m sitting for the MCAT soon.

  48. Sabio,

    Thanks for the link. Admittedly, I’m not very familiar with Islam or its sects.

  49. Zance,

    Is faith in Christ always necessary for salvation?

  50. @ Terrance,
    You are welcome. Since blogging I have become familiar with all sorts of Christian sects and theologies which I was unaware of (varieties of conservatives, liberals and even the more colorful fellas).

    Also, you asked Zance if “faith in Christ” is necessary for salvation. I know lots of Christians don’t think so. In fact, most lay folks don’t think so even though their religious professionals do. But while discovering all those sects of Christianity, I have found that “faith in Christ” and “following Christ” varies hugely between sects so that even that little shibboleth is not a definite test.

    I asked John a similar question about believism-Christianity on my site recently when he last visited, but no reply yet.

  51. Hey Terrance, you can call me Zan for short it’s a shortened version of my middle name ,Zania. My last name is Spence. So I put zan + spence together to make my up my social media accounts. Anyway I just felt to say that because I noticed no one can figure out how to shorten it…

    Faith is required for salvation and we will continue to relate to God on faith and grace alone. Romans 1:17 quotes Habakkuk 2 in that the “Just shall live by faith” .Faith has to proceed everything we do. Or our actions are function of our faith. From the time of confessing Christ you do what God calls you to do. If you profess just before you die (like the the thief on the cross, Luke 23) then there’s not much for you to do, but the more time you have the more time to fulfill your calling. Faith with out works is dead (James 2), if we love God we will keep him commands (John 14). Moreover, we come as we are but our faith should grow. Paul told the church in Corinth that they are still on the milk of the gospel and they should be on solid food by now (1 Cor 3).

  52. @TerranceH says: January 27, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Yes; in Islam/Quran/Muhammad we have the “initiation” no “baptism” for those who get convinced to the truth of Islam/Quran/Muhammad. One has to recite/pronounce/declare Shahadah openly with firm faith in the truth that “There is no divine except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger”; this is done at the time of conversion to Islam.

    When a child is born ,as immediately as possible, we recite Azan (or call for prayer) in both the ears of the new-born, turn by turn, anybody could do that. Azan has in it the sentences of shahadah also.

    For the words of the Azan one may like to access the following:

    http://www.alislam.org/books/salat/05.html

  53. Zan,

    I want to be very clear: I did not ask if faith in God is necessary for salvation; I asked if faith in Christ is necessary for salvation.

    If so, what becomes of people who’ve not heard the Gospel?

  54. paarsurrey,

    I appreciate the reply.

    “There is no divine except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger”:

    Where does Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad fit in?

  55. Zan,

    Regarding your name, yes, I’m never sure how to shorten it – and I don’t like writing it long because I’m too lazy to check the proper spelling, although it doesn’t appear it’s that complicated. :D I thought about addressing you by your initials, NZTS, but figured it might be unclear. So, Zan it is!

  56. Oh, Terrance, I suggest you read those links before asking paarsurrey about his religion — it will be much fast, fuller and less frustrating.

  57. Sabio,

    I read them. But I want to make sure I’m understanding correctly.

  58. @TerranceH :January 27, 2014 at 4:54 PM
    “I appreciate the reply.
    “There is no divine except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger”:
    Where does Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad fit in?” Unquote

    Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a successor of Muhammad; and he did not bring any new law after Muhammad; he is a follower of Quran and Sunnah (acts and deeds) of Muhammad.

  59. paarsurrey,

    Is it true he is considered the “promised Messiah”?

  60. Hey Terrance,
    When did I put out all my initials? I usually drop the middle T.

    I believe that everyone will have an opportunity to know Christ because of 2 Peter 3:9. Conversion does not only come int the form of missionaries or the opportunity to grow up in a free Judeo-Christian western world like ours. It has been reported by Ravi Zacharias and many other Christians that Jesus has been appearing in the dreams of Muslims who have never heard the gospel: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/07/05/is-jesus-christ-reaching-out-to-muslims-through-their-dreams/. Who knows what else God has done. Romans 1:20 talks about the fact that God has made himself known to creation so that men are without excuse to see that the world has an intelligent designer. And it goes on to say that men prefer to worship created things rather than the creator.

    Another question to ask is what will happen to everyone born before Christ was born, excluding Jews who had the law. Say the Babylonians. Covenant theology explains this. God has always made an attempt to commune with man. As time and time passed and man could not keep a covenant He refined it and eventually God just sent his son. This is why Jews say that gentiles are under the Noahic covenant. Think about Abraham. He was a man of faith. What faith? There was no “Judaism” until God gave Moses the law. Abraham is from a pagan family(Joshua 24:2).

    Check out this teaching on the Eight Covenants of the Bible: http://ariel.org/come-and-see.htm. It’s the 4th one listed.

  61. Sabio, I just saw that you prompted Terrance to ask me the question. You can talk to me directly if you wish. I don’t bite. :)

    In my answer to Terrance I am an exclusivist Christian. I’m not a universalist or an inclusivist. Once something is true it will exclude everything else.

  62. Actually, Zanspence, I was talking to Terrance — I just wanted to let him know that asking you, or ANYONE, if “faith in Christ” is crucial in their salvation-scheme, that it may not tell him as much as he’d hope. I wasn’t particularly curious about your spin. But I get that you are an exclusivist — congratulations. Baptist, Methodist or Just good ‘ole “non-denominational” Evangelical?

  63. Sabio. Lol. You’re funny. I’m the good old non-denominational. Evangelical is weird because it’s a socio-political term to me. All Christians should be evangelical and evangelize with their life. Sort of like what pop culture has done to “carbs” vs real carbohydrates.

  64. @ Zan,
    Thanx. Interestingly, depending on the sect of Christianity, some evangelize very differently than others. Some only by their works and wait to be asked, if at all. Some two by two knocking on doors with bible in hand.
    Funny thing about Evangelicals, they are quick to say “All Christians should …” ’tis one of their many trademarks.
    BTW: I went to an Evangelical college (as a believer)

  65. Zan,

    I see. So, you believe those who’ve never heard the Gospel and have no idea who Christ is are going to hell for all of eternity…And boy, I never thought I’d be happier to have been born in the United States. How lucky can we get? If we’d been born in certain parts of Asia, for example, we’d be doomed. And I know what the Bible says about knowing of a Creator, which is why I specifically asked about Christ.

    And Sabio didn’t prompt me to ask that question. He was advising me to read the links regarding paarsurrey’s Islamic sect.

  66. Zan,

    I see your full explanation above. I didn’t notice it at first. When you said you were an “exclusivist,” it seemed like you were saying that one MUST have faith in Jesus Christ to be saved. But clearly you recognize that isn’t always the case. Good.

    About your initials. You haven’t put them out that I’ve saw. I just like to know who it is I’m conversing with because people tend to make up a lot of stories, and since I have connected my posts on this blog to my Facebook account, I excercise even more caution before talking with people.

  67. @ TerranceH
    BTW I see you’ve been an author on this blog since 2013 April. No mention of more than one author in the “About” section. You guys might want to think adding that along with background on you. It is good for visitors to get a quick picture of the authors.

    BTW, good luck on the MCATs.

  68. Sabio,

    The background page edits are entirely up to John, but I wouldn’t have any objection. Until then….

    I’m a 28-year-old father of four from Michigan. I have two boys (7 years and 1.6 years) and two girls (5 years and 8 months). I’ve held several jobs, including Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Room Technician, and, most recently, Mental Health Aide. I’ll complete a B.S. in Biology in a few months, take the MCAT, and with any luck, gain acceptance into an Osteopathic Medical School. Why Osteopathic? 1). I love the Osteopathic philosophy; and 2). The majority of physicians and providers I’ve worked with had either a P.A. or D.O. after their name. I respect both professions very much.

    I have no credentials whatsoever in matters of religion. I grew up in a secular household, became an atheist, became a Catholic, and most recently, a Lutheran, Wisconsin Synod.

    I have no credentials whatsoever in matters of politics. I consider myself a moderate conservative but I am emphatically and unapologetically pro-life.

    My hobbies include reading, writing, hacking into stuff, and college football.

    Thanks for wishing me luck! Hopefully it comes in handy!

  69. Thanx TerranceH — great back ground. Succinct, direct.
    So how did John elect to have you co-author?
    Do you live near?
    How do your theologies differ — they feel like they do?
    Wife born and raise Lutheran, Catholic …?
    What age did you consider yourself an “Atheist” — a well read, philosophical one , or by default because not religious? What age did you start embracing religion — Catholic or otherwise and what do you think your prime social motivators were?

  70. Sabio,

    I started my own WordPress blog about three-years ago. Somehow I found John’s blog and started commenting, he returned the favor on my blog, and we became friends. We added each other on Facebook, conversed almost daily (still do), and then I decided to shut down my WordPress blog and go over to Blogger. I did that for awhile but got tired of feeling obligated to update, so John offered me a spot on Sifting Reality to satisfy my occasional desire to write about something.

    We don’t live near each other, no. We’ve “known” each other online for almost four-years but we’ve never met in person.

    I’m a bit more liberal in my theology than John, but also, as a former Catholic, I’m sympathetic to that doctrine while John is decidedly not.

    My wife was raised Catholic. I attended services with her, realized how much it meant to her, and made every effort to revisit my views. I tried really hard but couldn’t sacrifice my intellectual integrity and believe that the Earth was only 6,000 years old and that mankind roamed with dinosaurs. Believe me, I tried. I even started arguing the point! But I just couldn’t keep it up. I’ve always had an affinity for science, so you can imagine how patently absurd I thought such beliefs to be, and how ashamed of myself I was for arguing in their favor.

    But I tried to rectify the two. I read different things, talked with different people, and realized I didn’t have to choose between God and Science; I could have both and not feel ashamed. You simply don’t have to believe the Earth is only 6,000-years-old to believe in the Bible. You don’t have to discount Evolutionary Theory. In this case, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

    So, that began my conversion but it wasn’t solidified until after watching Dinesh D’Souza debate Christopher Hitchens (who I respected greatly). To me, everything D’Souza said simply made sense. From there, I sought other apologists like William Lane Craig, whose arguments strengthened my faith. And I owe a debt to John, as well. He’s helped me along with many of his arguments.

    To answer your questions clearly: I wasn’t an “atheist” until I was about 20. Throughout my teens I was an agnostic. I started my conversion when I was about 24.

  71. Thanx for sharing, Terrance. Fantastic details. You ought to merge these reply into one post called About Terrance, then John could then just simply link to it in the about section.
    Few questions:
    (1) You seemed to imply that Catholics taught the earth was 6,000 years old. They don’t, do they. In fact Catholicism flatly supports evolution, no?
    (2) Do you have a mystical temperament — experiencing God? Or is it more of a Faith of Reason and Belief? (I think this is more John’s temperament).
    (3) So, you left an atheist view point when you met your wife, right?
    (4) What kind of work does your wife do? How will you afford medical school with four kids??? :-) I admire the ambition!
    (5) Do you belong to a church now? Does your wife belong to the same church?

  72. 1). Generally, they support evolution. But that wasn’t evident during the services. Understand, I didn’t focus my attention on one particular denomination. I just wanted to believe in God. And so during my research, I came across quite a few evangelical sites that put forth all sorts of anti-evolutionary theories. So, I simply assumed I had to disbelieve evolution in order to be a “real Christian.” Eventually I discovered that is completely untrue. So, you’ll find I don’t have much respect for evangelicals. To me, they’ve done more to distance people from salvation than anything else.

    2). Look, working in the medical field, I’ve seen some pretty extraordinary things. I’m sure you have as well, being what I consider a doctor by another name. (Truthfully, I’ve noticed no difference in knowledge or skills between doctors and physician assistants.) But I came to God because it made the most sense to me.

    3). I began to leave it, yes. It took awhile.

    4). My wife owns a photography business, actually. But I imagine student loans will play a part.

    5). We both belong to a Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Synod. And truthfully, it wasn’t a doctrinal difference with the Catholic Church that caused the change. We moved, quite simply, and the closest parochial school happened to be affiliated with the Lutheran Church. We attended some Bible classes, liked what we heard, noticed that the services weren’t all that dissimilar from Catholic services, and became members of the church. Would we ever go back to the Catholic Church? Absolutely. The differences between the two are so meager as to not warrant serious consideration. Their differences are petty in the grand scheme of things. God’s love is all that matters, and if you know that, then you know all you need to know. At least, that’s my view.

  73. Terrance, I just want to be clear that I believe that since Christ came that He is the only way. Before Christ salvation was based on whatever covenant God had going.

  74. Terrance I just wanted to add that in order for me to believe that Jesus is the only way I have to also believe:

    1. Believe that God provides a way for everyone to be saved
    2. Salvation will have a united look but not a uniformed look

    In the first part as I mentioned Jesus is visiting people in dreams who have never heard of him before. So it’s not just about missionaries, or TBN or being born in a western world.

    The goal of salvation is not to be “churched” and erect a building and have Sunday School and sermons and so on. So if on some remote place of the earth God provides away and they know Jesus in their own way then they are saved. So we are united in the body of Christ though we are not uniform in our expression or application of our belief.

  75. Just sounds like you’re trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, you don’t want to admit that Jesus Christ isn’t the only way to salvation – because of the implications. On the other hand, you believe God provides a way for everyone to be saved – by bringing people missionaries or appearing in dreams.

    The explanation I accept is from the Roman Catholic Church.

    Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.

    But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life.

    Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

  76. @ Terrance,
    You wrote:

    The explanation I adhere this from the Roman Catholic Church.
    is it suppose to say”

    The explanation I adhere to is this one from the Roman Catholic Church:

    ?
    So you are agreeing with the qualified Universalism of Catholicism. Correct?
    This is not John Barron’s stance on salvation at all, is it?

  77. Ooops, sorry for the HTML mess-up. Here it is again:
    @ Terrance, you wrote:

    “The explanation I adhere this from the Roman Catholic Church.”

    Did you mean to write:

    “The explanation I adhere to is this one from the Roman Catholic Church:”

    If so, then you are agreeing with the qualified Universalism of Catholicism. Correct? And this is not John Barron’s stance on salvation at all, is it?

  78. No, I wouldn’t characterize it like that. The Catholic Church doesn’t teach universal salvation. If someone rejects Christianity in favor of Hinduism, then they are rejecting Christ in favor of other deities. The catechism above is talking about people who, through no fault of their own, have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  79. Right, well, I can pursue that in a minute. But that is your position, and it is different from John Barron’s, right?

    You said, you left Catholicism but are now Lutheran — would Lutherans agree with this Catholic statement?

  80. Sabio,

    Yes and No. I would say John agrees with Zan. The fundamental difference is that they believe God provides a way for everyone to be saved, meaning a way for everyone to know Christ. I don’t believe this. I believe it’s possible to believe in a Creator and do everything Jesus commanded without actually knowing anything about Jesus.

    Yes and No, I asked my Pastor this question and he seemed to agree with the catechism above. However, if you read the WELS catechism, they say Jesus is indeed the only way but that everyone who is supposed to come to Christ eventually will.

    • Right. So, you make 2 criterion for your salvation scheme:
      (1) Belief in Creator
      (2) Good Works (of Jesus’ type)
      (3) Can’t reject what a missionary tells you (the right type of missionary, of course)

      None of that strikes you as odd? Let me briefly hint on each:
      (1) Why is belief in a creator so crucial?
      (2) I’d love to see that check list.
      (3) For the sake of argument, let’s say there is a wonder gospel (a message of true freedom — to be generous to the Christian’s intent). Now, let’s say that an Atheist heard it from a missionary, or grew up with it, or from a friend. BUT, they did not see it lived out like #2 above, they saw all sorts of hypocrisy, or had such other contaminants that floated along with that story so that the story is not the real gospel in their head. Do they really burn?

      Do not the variety of salvation theories point to the fact of the human-made, arbitrary, legalistic, gnostic quality of your chosen beliefism religion?

  81. Sabio,

    I can explain each in greater detail. But I want to focus on (3). First, let me say I don’t believe people literally burn in hell, but that’s unimportant to your concerns.

    Anyway. Someone clearly isn’t being taught the “true Gospel” if their being taught in such a way that is in direct contradiction to the teaching’s of Christ. The Crusades are a perfect example. Those who did the Church’s bidding didn’t have access to the Gospel. Bibles were written by hand in languages most people didn’t understand and were very expensive. Only the wealthy and educated knew the true Gospel – and they distorted it to suit their own desires.

    On your last point…I’m reminded of the hypothetical conservative Christian you earlier quoted. Everyone has their own theories based on their own beliefs, not on reality. But the underlying message is consistent: faith in God and love for one another. The rest is all academic, it seems to me.

  82. @Terrance,
    So much to undertake there. But let me start with an important question:
    Do you believe what you wrote in your second paragraph because it is written in the Bible, or because you think it is a reasonable thing for a god to expect or both?
    Thanx

  83. Sabio,

    I believe God is just.

  84. Terrance,
    Curt and avoidant. OK, I won’t ask more.

  85. Sabio,

    However brief, it answered your question. I believe that because I believe God is just.

  86. I’m sure you know exactly how that does not answer the question, and yet how it is suppose to answer the question, so I will drop the conversation.

  87. Sabio,

    Why doesn’t it answer the question?

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